Mental Health and Addictions

Mental Health Review Board


The Mental Health Review Board (MHRB) is an independent tribunal that gives psychiatric patients of designated hospitals and the psychiatrists that work with them a fair and impartial hearing on some very specific aspects of admission and medical treatment.

The board exists to help balance some basic rights and liberties of psychiatric facility patients with their possible need for treatment that is not wanted or welcome.


What Can the MHRB Do

The MHRB can only do the things it is specifically allowed to do by The Mental Health Act. It can review some Mental Health Act forms that:

  • keep people from deciding for themselves whether or not to stay in hospital as a patient for longer periods of time (Form 6 or Form 7);
  • do not allow in-patients to decide for themselves what medications or other medical treatment they will accept while they are in hospital (Form 9);
  • keep patients from making their own financial decisions while they are in hospital (Form 10);
  • let some patients live in the community instead of staying in hospital if they follow certain conditions; and the cancellation of the forms allowing that (Form 15 and Form 17).

Patients with certain kinds of health care directives made under The Health Care Directives Act can also apply to have the MHRB consider ordering a psychiatric facility to comply with the wishes included in those specific documents.


Who Can Apply For a Hearing

Patients whose rights are being restricted by certain forms under The Mental Health Act can apply on their own behalf, or others can make an application for them.


How to Apply For a Hearing

All applications must be made in writing on a special kind of document called a Form 18. The forms are available at the nursing desk of psychiatric units at all designated facilities. Once filled in, the application can be given to the desk to send to the MHRB. It can also be sent by regular mail or dropped off at the MHRB office.


Who Hears MHRB Reviews

Each MHRB hearing panel has three members. They are drawn from a group of people already appointed to the board. The panel will have:

  • a lawyer, who chairs the hearing and makes sure the law is applied;
  • an independent psychiatrist; and
  • a community member who is not a doctor or a lawyer.


Some MHRB Reviews Are Automatic

The MHRB has some hearings automatically, even when no application has been made. These are for patients who have either:

  • been kept as involuntary patients for a long time, usually more than a year; or
  • been on long-term leave certificates that let them live in the community but under conditions to take medications and attend appointments.


How Long Does the Hearing Process Take

Under the legislation, hearings are set to begin between seven to 21 days after a valid application is received by the MHRB office. The hearings often take roughly one to two hours to complete. The panel hearing a case usually makes its decisions within a few days after a hearing ends.


Can MHRB Decisions Be Appealed

The MHRB is not allowed to revisit its own decisions, and it cannot have new hearings about the same thing it has already made a decision about. Parties who disagree with a decision made by the MHRB can appeal by applying to The Court of King's Bench on a question of law or fact or both. The appeal period ends 30 days after receiving the MHRB's order.


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